Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Did You Ever.......?

Did you ever think of a really great idea for a book and get so excited for it that you couldn't stand it? Did you start brainstorming ideas, and maybe even an early draft or two, and it all came out soooo easy? Did you burn with excitement, finally convinced that you had found the HOLY GRAIL of ideas?

And then, did you run your title through Amazon, just to see, you know, if there were already similar books out there........and you found one..........yeah, me too.

Which makes me think that I don't know if having Amazon at your fingertips is such a good thing sometimes. For example, when my book Good Night, Good Knight came out, I saw an article about a new picturebook coming out a few months before mine called Good Knight. It also dealt with going to bed. Now, therein lie the only similarities, and each book tells its own story. However, had I seen there was a book with a similar title, would I have stopped working on mine?


And that's the sad part. I might have stopped working on I book that I loved because it had "been done."

But I didn't. Which is good.

I should just disable my computer from googling titles and such......because once I see something similar, it just kind of ruins it for me.

Ironically, I tell my students all the time that nobody can write a story in the same way they can. We sometimes do exercies where we all take the same idea and everybody addresses it in their own way. And the results are cool. So cool.

But I have a problem with listening to myself.



Davin Malasarn said...

That's a really great point. I admit that I haven't spent a lot of time doing this. I often feel like I don't have much control over what inspires me, so it's a bit pointless for me to try and avoid repeating what someone else has done. According to this, it's probably for the better!

Susan R. Mills said...

This is a great post! I don't want to copy someone, but I can't read every book on the market, so the chances of writing something similar to someone else is always there. It could never be exactly the same as there's, though, so I try not to worry about it.

Clementine said...

Yes! This happened to me yesterday. I discovered a very similar book to my WIP, and later found myself tweaking my plot. Then I stopped, realizing that my story couldn't possibly be the exact same thing. It's sort of like music. All musicians sing songs about the same topics because we all experience the same emotions. But each tune is different, and the singers' voice is different, so we hear the same message in different ways. I ended up going with my original plot, and you should too!

Corey Schwartz said...

Yes, it has happened! Shelley, that is a great exercise. How old are your students? I have done that on school visits. I read Hop! Plop! (Mouse and Elephant on a seesaw) The I read Just a Little Bit (Mouse and elephant on a seesaw) Then I read one more. All have same characters, setting and problems. But each of the three came up with a different solution! Therein lies the beauty of writing :)

Kelly H-Y said...

So true! And, what a great point you make with the exercise you do with your students!

storyqueen said...

Davin-Yeah, I don't have a lot of control over what inspires me, either. Maybe no writer does......?

Lazy- You make sense, but I do worry about it......probably shouldn't, though.

Amy-I knew I wasn't the only one!!

Corey-Yep, the beauty of writing. But even though I know this in my brain, I lose heart if I feel it's been done.....


lisa and laura said...

We just talked about this very thing today. Our WIP has some similarities to a book that was published a few years ago that neither of us has read (our beta reader brought it to our attention). I'm confident enough in our writing and our execution that I think our final product will be different enough than what was written before. Our current plan is to read the other book after we've finished our first draft, just so we can be sure ours can compete. But we definitely don't want to read it now because it will just mess with our vision. It's tricky, isn't it?

Stephanie Faris said...

The Breakup Club. That was my "brilliant" book that was the first major thing I wrote after taking eight years off of writing to deal with infertility issues, marital problems, my divorce, and the dreadful world of dating. I thought I had the best title...then I wrote about my book on my MySpace blog and some jerkwad accused me of plagiarizing Melissa Senate's book of the same title. (Some people don't get that you can duplicate a title and not be duplicating the entire book.) It sucks. I ended up retitling it "The Broken Hearts Club" but the good thing about taking a while to get published is by the time it's out there her book will be ancient history.

storyqueen said...

L and L: I agree, don't read it now! Wait until you're done!

Steph: I love your title. and I'm sure it's probably nothing like the other book. Are you still trying to get it published?